13 year old Iranian boy with brain tumour:
Top Israeli doctors fight to save his life

Published: 12 November 2008
Briefing Number 224

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A 13 year old Iranian boy, suffering from a brain tumour, was recently flown to Israel for emergency surgery. He arrived in Israel via Turkey , with his father and grandfather by his side, and was treated at the Safra children's wing of the Sheba Medical Centre ( www.eng.sheba.co.il ), outside Tel Aviv in central Israel . Unfortunately the boy's condition is severe.

Iranian leaders vilify Israel as a “cancerous microbe”in the region (see Beyond Images Briefing 217, and see the Iran resources on www.theisraelproject.org ). The boy's arrival in Israel and his treatment there provide the strongest possible response to the hatred and threats which Israel faces from members of the Iranian elite, and, tragically, from many others in the region.

Israeli Minister Meir Shitreet - ‘religion and origin play no part….'

Israeli Interior Minister Shitreet permitted the boy to enter the country, overruling the normal procedures for admitting citizens from Iran . Shitreet was quoted as saying (Ynet News, 8 October 2008 ):-

“When a child's life is at stake religion and origin play no part….”

The boy's Iranian father – ‘most Iranians do not hate Israel …. ‘

After several days in Israel , the boy's Iranian father was quoted as saying the following (Ynet News, 12 October 2008 , and on a video of the same date):-

“…. A father's love for his son goes beyond borderlines and religion…. It is important to me that you know that the majority of Iranians don't hate Israel . We are all people and we all have the same feelings….I can't thank the Jewish people enough for all the love and support we have been getting….”

Prof Ze'ev Rotstein, Sheba 's CEO: Prof Rotstein, the Chief Executive of the Sheba Medical Centre, was quoted widely. Here is a selection of his statements:

‘…. Building understanding': “… Doctors in Iran told the father that there was nothing they could do for the son in Iran , and to try the Safra Children's hospital at Sheba because they do outstanding pediatric work in brain cancer…. We hope that with the love and affection we give these kids we are paving the way for at least some understanding between people…..” ( www.israel21c.org , 15 October 2008 )

‘If this kid has any chance, it's here….': “…. We can't change the politics. We are not politicians. We do this because we feel it is our job… With a kid as seriously ill as he is, there are very limited things you can do. But if this kid has any chance, it is here….” (Associated Press, 10 October 2008 )

‘….We'll fight for a single life': “…. This case brings to the attention of people who we Israelis really are… We will fight for even a single life. We value it very much. What I'd like Ahmadinejad [ Iran 's President] to understand is that Israel 's not just a name but a country full of warm people who care for others, who are ready to help everyone….” ( London Jewish News, 16 October 2008 )

The UK head of ‘Save A Child's Heart' – ‘overcoming negative perceptions…'

The UK head of Save A Child's Heart ( www.saveachildsheart.com ),which has provided free heart treatment to over 2000 children from all over the world, including many Palestinian and other Arab children, was quoted as saying:-

“It's wonderful news, a good example of how Israeli hospitals are reaching out and treating children irrespective of race or religion through the world. I hope that this will help to overcome the negative perceptions in the region….”

Other Beyond Images resources: On the Beyond Images homepage click on

All Beyond Images Briefings / Israel 's humanitarian values / view our various Briefings including, on Israel 's medical outreach to Israeli Arabs, Palestinians and other Arab patients: Briefings 110, 162, 197, 204 and 223.